What you missed! Testimonies from PM Weekend

by Dec 3, 2021Personal Ministries, Testimonies

I went to both weekends!

What a blessing it was to spend time with like-minded people and to hear of ideas on how to make Sabbath school more enjoyable! Finding out that Sabbath school was first developed as an opportunity to reach out to our neighbors and friends so we could all study God’s word together was reaffirming. People aren’t always open to coming to church, but they are open to studying their Bibles, so why not invite them to Sabbath School where they can see the interaction between those in the class and join in themselves? It is a great outreach program, just as it was intended to be.

Personal Ministries works with all the departments and every member in the church, hence the name personalministries. We don’t have to go to other countries to minister to those who need to know Christ, they are right in our own back yards! When we live what we preach, people notice and want to know why we are the way we are. The way we live our lives is the best testimony we can give—”I am the way I am because of Jesus Christ.” 

We need to get back to our grass roots and start doing what our founders had done, going door to door, caring for our neighbor’s well-being, holding meetings, attending prayer meeting where prayer is the main focus, getting together in smaller groups to really sit down and study the word of God and discuss our thoughts. We were given several resources to enable us to work efficiently in the positions we were appointed to do by our church through the assignment of God.

I didn’t realize that the church board meetings were supposed to be about soul winning! We should be planning how to do ministry and missionary work, what we are doing in our area and how we can improve, and then discuss finances at the end.  I believe that if we get back to doing that, church finances will take care of themselves.

Strong Tower radio was there during personal ministries weekend, I am so grateful they now have an app. I downloaded it on my phone I can listen to their programs.  We don’t have access to the radio station down in Ypsilanti Michigan (yet), but through their app we do! 

Attending both weekends has awakened a renewed desire and set me back on fire to work for Christ and tell as many people as I can about the love Jesus has for them. I plan to invite everyone I know to Sabbath School and pray you will to. Let’s fill all those empty seats! 

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) This is our assignment.

– Dianna Tait (Sabbath School Teacher and Personal Ministries Secretary and Detroit Oakwood Seventh-day Adventist Church)

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I am already using what I learned!

This year I was blessed to be able to attend both the Sabbath School Training weekend, and the Personal Ministries weekend at Camp Au Sable.  These two weekends, both separately and together, really help to relight that fire in me for doing God’s work.  The excitement and passion that both Pastor Kameron and Pastor Mark have for this ministry shows in the efforts they put forth in presenting the materials for both weekends.  That excitement poured out into those that had attended the meeting(s).  I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of work and time spent that they put into preparing and organizing the material that was presented!  I’d really like to commend their willingness and excitement to teach these classes each year.  I was able to come back to my church refreshed and uplifted with more desire to carry out the Three Angels’ Messages.  

The first week after attending Sabbath School Training I called a Sabbath School Counsel meeting and together we reviewed all the notes that I had taken from that weekend.  I was able to share and give copies of all the material that was presented at the meetings to each person on our Sabbath School Counsel, everything is posted online and accessible at www.MichiganSSPM.org.  During our SS Counsel meeting I was able to share how to find more resources that were available to teachers, ideas on how to better teach our Sabbath School classes, and also how to be more organized with our time in class.  Another thing that I appreciated was the advice given on how to get more people interested in attending Sabbath School classes, as well as the weekly Prayer meeting.  

The weekend after Personal Ministries Weekend our Personal Ministry Leader and I shared the awesome information we had learned with our congregation during our 10 minutes of PM time in our worship service.  As shown by Pastor Kameron and Pastor Mark’s example, we gave everyone a copy of, and reviewed with them, the Grow Cycle Chart from www.GROW.advenitst.org.  We shared our own church’s evangelism plan for the next year, and how we were going to help train everyone so we can all take part in the work to lead people to our amazing God.  We discussed how important Evangelism is, and how it does work when we organize our church, and ourselves, in such a way to be led by the Holy Spirit—and it all starts with preparing the soil.  That afternoon after potluck, we led over half of the congregation that was in attendance out into the community to go door to door collecting funds for Hope for Humanity.  We all had such a great time and ended the day hot coco and fellowship back at church.  This attendance was double from our last year’s effort!  We are looking forward to getting more people excited to participate in doing God’s work.  

I wish that everyone would take advantage of these exciting training classes that our Conference offers.  If I could just bottle up half of the excitement from these weekends and share it with everyone, the love for leading people to the Lord would be pouring out of our churches.  Thank you to everyone who is involved with putting these training classes on, your efforts are so much appreciated. Blessings!

–  Valerie Elswick-Wohlever (Personal Ministries Leader and New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church)

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I was not disappointed!

Everyone at some point in their life has taken on a new job or headed into a new field that required more than what was initially expected. This happens often in the change of board members and accepting new positions in the church. I was privileged enough to become the Personal Ministries Leader for our church and was super excited about it. Yet that initial fire to do the Lord’s work cooled off when a few personnel changes took place, and I encountered a couple hiccups in the road. I was feeling defeated and even tried to resign. I’m thankful my pastor gracefully said that wasn’t going to happen and encouraged me to get back on the figurative horse and ride. That ride led me to training this November with Pastors Howard and DeVasher and this girl is on fire again! The theme was “Get Your Ducks in a Row,” oh boy did I need this!  My ducks were lost, but now they are found—and in a row!

Sabbath evening was kicked off with encouragement from the Conference Personal Ministries duo. I was encouraged to see two men speak about taking on their new jobs as the Sabbath School and PM leaders and to see their enthusiasm for their new jobs. We learned things to do and what not to do. We saw out of scripture our calling, our mission, and our duties. We were taught what our jobs were and what was expected and most of all we were given the tools to do so!

We were taught to never say “I’m just…” or “I’m only…”. When we think we can’t do something because “I’m just one person” or “I’m only able to do so much,” it becomes a defeating mindset and Satan loves us to get defeated before we even start. We also learned that from Pastor Howard that, “The Lord doesn’t work by the majority, he works by the committed,” reminding us to stay committed in our daily relationships with the Lord and to our tasks. However, the saying that stuck with me the entire weekend even until now, was that the “Holy Spirit only hits moving targets”.  We are to keep moving forward, it doesn’t matter if it’s only 1 person, 10 people or mighty army just keep moving forward!

The theme of the weekend was organization, and the pastors did not disappoint!  They came ready to teach and teach some more. They showed us in Scripture how God is magnificently organized and that even Satan is organized in how he goes about. We learned our job isn’t about us, it’s about us being the hands and feet of Jesus and encouraging others to be the same. The church tends to want to pray and pay for missionaries to do the work when Jesus has called us all to do it!  Our job is to encourage a revival and reformation in our churches, to use our authority with our influence to lead God’s army into battle. 

The battle sounds hard, but with the Holy Spirit with us, we can do mighty things in Jesus’ name! Our mission is to proclaim the gospel of salvation and “enlist every member in active soul winning service for God.” We learned the GROW cycle (GROW.adventist.org), how to prepare the soil, how to plant, cultivate, harvest, and preserve the new church members.

Through events such as community outreach, prayer walks, dinners for needy, stop smoking seminars, depression seminars and cooking classes, we can get to know the people in our areas, then we can plant spiritual seeds such as literature distribution and invitations to Bible studies.

Those who we study the Bible with will be cultivated and taught the ways of Jesus, and with the Lord’s blessing will choose Jesus in the baptism of His Spirit and become faithful members. Lastly, we continue to help them grow, help them stay encouraged, and most importantly get them involved in the work! 

The good pastors didn’t just leave us with knowledge but gave us tools that work. We were given practical tools such as online resources, job descriptions, our mission statement, and more. We were shown in the church manual how the job of the whole board is to win souls. As Personal Ministries leaders, we need to help formulate a soul-winning plan and lead out in its implementation. We were given online resources at MichiganSSPM.org which includes articles, training videos, and more.  We were given Event Planning Worksheets showing us how to properly plan for events including how to plan our budgets, keep attendance, and track successes.

We were encouraged to be bold, to present what we learned to our churches. This week we did our first 10-minute presentation and presented the GROW cycle. We also went through the expectation of the Personal Ministries leader and the work of the Personal Ministries council. We told the church to expect a busy year of soul winning ahead and we encouraged and challenged them to come be a part of it. We are so excited to continue the Lord’s work!

Our team of 4 who attend the weekend training included myself as Personal Ministries leader, Valerie, our Interest Coordinator, her husband who is our audio/visual leader, and my husband who is our stand-in head deacon. We all left excited and were on speaker phone on our car rides back, as we just couldn’t wait to get home to call each other! It was a great opportunity to have all of us there to hear, learn and to come back home with the great things we learned. This retreat left us all feeling blessed and filled with energy and revived. 

We look forward to working with Pastors Howard and DeVasher this coming year. We are implementing the objectives we learned and are excited to see the work be done. Thank you to our church for sending us, thank you to the conference for giving these men this mission, and thank you to Camp Au Sable for the hospitality. What a blessed weekend!  I encourage all leaders of the churches to go to your training sessions, no matter your position, you won’t be disappointed!

–  Patricia Novak (Personal Ministries Leader and Women’s Ministries Leader and New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church)

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I left EMPOWERED!

My 14th year old grandson, Noah and I were richly blessed at the recent Personal Ministries training weekend.  We learned so much about what Personal Ministries is and the authority that God and the church gives us through the position of Personal Ministires leader. I felt empowered!

Talking with other Personal Ministries leaders and sharing ideas made me feel I was not alone.  I felt empowered!

Two days after returning from the seminar, I went to my church’s board meeting.  I was more ready than ever to share soul winning ideas and to ask questions regarding things under my domain I wasn’t aware of before the seminar.  I felt empowered!

This Sabbath as I share with my church family ways for us to share the Blessed Hope we have in Jesus and I will do it with a new confidence! Thank you, Personal Ministry Leaders Kameron DeVasher and Mark Howard for equipping me to better serve my Lord and my Church. 

– Mary Ann Cirigliano (Personal Ministries leader, Fremont SDA Church

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